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Wyoming Mineral Production Value Up 23% in 2010, Governor Says

The total value of minerals produced in Wyoming last year was up 23% year over year, hitting $15.5 billion, Gov. Matt Mead announced Monday. Separately, Mead said the state was providing grants to local fire districts in the southeastern part of the state that have heavy impacts from shale gas and other mineral production.

Last year's value was second only to 2008 in Wyoming's history of collectively valuing its oil, natural gas, coal, bentonite, trona and uranium production each year. In 2010 the production in each of those areas increased in value, compared with 2009, Mead said.

Mead said the recently completed state production valuation process will provide data to each of the individual counties in the state on Wednesday. Local assessors then use the data to determine how revenues inside each county are distributed.

The taxable value of natural gas was up by 30% and oil jumped 34%. The other sectors increased by widely varying amounts, with surface coal and trona increasing 6% and 7%, respectively, while uranium and bentonite jumped year over year by 44% and 89%, respectively.

Mead stressed that these industries were important for Wyoming's long-term prosperity, and as such, he was going to continue to push for "consistent and predictable" regulations from the federal government.

"The money from this mineral production is a shot in the arm for our counties that are still coming out of the recession," he said. "I will continue to push for the state to share its portion of revenue with cities and counties so they can invest now when the cost of construction is down and the prospects for economic development are high."

Separately, driven by the Niobrara play, Mead announced the creation of a $1 million supplies and equipment program for rural fire districts, aimed at Niobrara and three other counties (Goshen, Laramie and Platte). "The state needs to continue to find ways to get out in front of the energy booms," Mead said.

State legislator Matt Teeters said "some of the poorest rural fire districts in the state are experiencing substantial impacts from the Niobrara shale play and many are ill equipped."

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